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cownose stingray swimming
All Animals

Cownose Ray

Cownose rays are related to sharks and skates. They get their name from their unique forehead, which resembles the nose of a cow.

Animal Facts

Scientific Name



Shallow marine and brackish waters of the western Atlantic distributed from the northern US to Brazil, including through the Gulf of Mexico.

Location in the Zoo

One Ocean Aquarium in the Galápagos Islands – Opens April 7

Cool Animal Fact

As this ray swims through the ocean, its wingtips often break the surface, resembling the dorsal fin of a shark, which sometimes causes undue alarm for swimmers and divers. Occasionally, they jump out of the water and land with a loud smack, a behavior thought to be a territorial display.

How We Help Save Them

  • The Houston Zoo sources 100% ocean-friendly seafood for our animals, and our guests to eat, ensuring wildlife like rays are protected from harmful fishing practices.
  • Animals like rays can get injured after becoming entangled in discarded fishing line. We are working with local fishermen to help them recycle their fishing line, protecting this and other marine species in the wild.

How You Can Help

  • Eat only ocean-friendly seafood. Download the Seafood Watch App to help you choose ocean-friendly seafood on your next grocery shopping trip or dinner out.
  • Reduce plastic use to decrease the likelihood of plastics ending up in our oceans and harming marine animals.
  • Donate now to save rays in the wildDonate Today